Pvt. Campbell King Sadler

    Pvt. Campbell K. Sadler was born on August 26, 1916, in Garrard County, Kentucky, to James E. Sadler and Mattie Anderson-Sadler.  He had three brothers and two sisters.  Like many others of the time, he left school, after the eighth grade, and went to work at a sand and gravel company.  He married Agnes Fern Harrington and became the father of a daughter and son.  The family resided at 411 Lucas Avenue in Harrodsburg, Kentucky.  With his brother, Sgt. John Sadler, he had joined the Kentucky National Guard.
    In September 1940, the tank company was designated D Company, 192nd Tank Battalion.  On November 28th, the company rode a train to Fort Knox, Kentucky, and joined three other National Guard tank companies to form the battalion.  The soldiers lived in tents with stoves since their barracks were not finished.
    In early 1941, Campbell was transferred to Headquarters Company when it was formed.  What duties he performed with the company are not known. 

    In August 1941, the battalion was sent to Louisiana to take part in maneuvers.  Headquarters Company performed administration duties and tank maintenance.  At the end of the maneuvers, the tankers were ordered to Camp Polk without being given a reason why.  The battalion members had expected to return to Ft. Knox.
    On the side of a hill at Camp Polk, the battalion learned that they were being sent overseas as part of Operation PLUM.  Within hours, many of the soldiers had figured out that PLUM was an acronym for Philippines, Luzon, Manila.  It was at this time, men 29 years, or older, were given the opportunity to resign from federal service.  Those who did were replaced with men from the 753rd Tank Battalion.  This battalion had been sent to the fort, but it had not taken part in the maneuvers.  The M3A1 "Stuart" tanks from the battalion were also given to the 192nd.
    Traveling west over the southern train route through Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, the battalion arrived in San Francisco, California, and were ferried to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island.  On the island, the tankers were immunized and given physicals.  Men found to have treatable medical conditions were held back and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date.  Other men were simply replaced.

    The battalion sailed on Monday, October 27th, as part of a three ship convoy for Hawaii. 
After many of the members of the battalion got over their seasickness, they spent much of the time training in breaking down machine guns, cleaning weapons, and doing KP.   The ships arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii on Sunday, November 2nd, and had a two day layover.  The soldiers received shore leave and allowed to explore the island.  The ships sailed again on Wednesday, November 5th, for Guam, but took a southerly route away from the main shipping lanes. 
    During this part of the voyage, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the horizon.  The cruiser that was escorting the two transports revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it took off in the direction of the smoke.  It turned out that the unknown ship was from a friendly country.
    When the ships arrived at Guam, they took on bananas, vegetables, coconuts, and water.  The soldiers remained on ship since the convoy was sailing the next day.
  At one point, the ships passed an island, at night, in total blackout.  This for many of the soldiers was a would soon be at war.     About 8:00 in the morning on Thursday, November 20th, the ships entered Manila Bay.  After arriving at Manila later that day, it was three or four hours before the soldiers disembarked.  Most of the battalion boarded buses and rode to Ft. Stotsenburg north of Manila.  Those assigned to trucks drove them to the fort, while the maintenance section remained behind to unload the tanks.
    At the fort, the tankers were met by Colonel Edward P. King, who welcomed them and made sure that they had what they needed.  He also was apologetic that there were no barracks for the tankers and that they had to live in tents, but the fact was he had not learned of their arrival until days before they arrived.  After making sure that the soldiers received Thanksgiving Dinner, he went and had his own dinner.
    For the next seventeen days the tankers spent much of their time removing cosmoline from their weapons which had been greased to prevent them from rusting during the trip.  They also spent a large amount of time loading ammunition belts, as they prepared to take part in maneuvers with the 194th Tank Battalion.

    On Monday, December 1st, the tanks were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field to guard against paratroopers.  The 194th Tank Battalion guarded the northern half of the airfield, while the 192nd guarded the southern half.  At all times, two members of every tank and half-track crew remained with their vehicles.  Meals were brought to them by food trucks.
    The morning of December 8th, all the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field.  During the night, word had been received about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  HQ Company remained behind in the battalion's bivouac.
    All morning long, American planes filled the sky.  At noon, every plane landed to be refueled and the pilots went to lunch.  At 12:45, 54 planes approached the airfield from the north.  The tankers believed the planes were American until what they described as "raindrops" appeared to fall from the planes.  When bombs began exploding around them, the tankers knew the planes were Japanese.  The members of HQ Company could do little more than watch the attack and seek shelters since they had no weapons to be used against planes.
The evening of April 8, 1942, Capt. Fred Bruni, HQ Company's commanding officer, gave his men the news of the surrender.  While informing the members of the company of the surrender, he waved his arm toward the tanks and told the men that they would no longer need them.  As he spoke, his voice choked.  He turned away from the men for a moment, and when he turned back he continued.  He next told the sergeants what they should do to disable the tanks.  Bruni told his men that from this point on it was each man for himself.  During the announcement, Bruni emphasized that when they surrendered they would surrender together.   He told the soldiers to destroy their weapons and any supplies that could be used by the Japanese.  The only thing they were told not to destroy were the company's trucks.   Somehow, Bruni had found enough bread and pineapple juice for what he called, "Their last supper."  
    The soldiers proceeded to pile up their guns and ammunition and set the pile on fire.  They stayed in their bivouac and waited for orders.  At the same time that they were sad, they were also kind of excited and wondered what was going to happen to them.
It was at this time that Campbell made the decision to attempt to reach Corregidor.  He and other members of the company made their way to the coast.  They found a boat, got the engine running, and convinced the owner, at gun point, to take them to Corregidor.  As they approached the island, they signaled it with a flashlight.  They finally received a response which told them how to get through the islands mine field.
    On the island, he was assigned to an anti-aircraft gun.  The Japanese landed on the island on May 6th in an all out invasion. It was on that day the Campbell became a Prisoner of War.  He and the other men were herded onto a beach which was designated Corregidor POW Camp.  He remained there for about a week when the Japanese began moving the POWs to Manila by barge. 
    The barge took the POWs to a point about 100 yards from the shore.  At that point, the POWs jumped into the water and swam to shore.  Once on shore, they were taken to a pier which had been damaged during the battle and filled the holes with pieces of concrete.  After they finished, they were formed detachments of 100 men and ordered to march.
    Having heard from men who had escaped the march out of Bataan what it was like, they feared they would have the same experience.  To their surprise the POWs were not abused on the march and were marched at a reasonable rate.  They marched up Dewey Boulevard in Manila to Bilibid Prison, where they remained until they were transferred to Cabanatuan. 
    In late 1942, Campbell went out on the work detail to build and expand runways at Clark Airfield.  The POWs did the work with picks and shovels.  He remained on the detail for nearly a year when he became ill and sent to the hospital ward at Bilibid Prison.  According medical records kept there, Campbell was suffering from pellagra when he arrived on September 18, 1943.  It is not known when, but he was sent to Cabanatuan. 
    On September 30, 1943, Campbell was sent back to Bilibid as part of a POW detachment being sent to Japan.  Medical records show he was still suffering from pellagra.  It appears that he was considered too ill to be sent to Japan and sent to what was referred to as "Medical Department Personnel."  He was readmitted to the hospital on October 20th and records show he was discharged on October 21, 1943, back to the Medical Department Personnel.
    A year later, Campbell's name appeared on another POW draft for transport to Japan.  The POWs were taken to the Port Area of Manila and on August 25, 1944, boarded onto the
Noto Maru, which three other ships to form a convoy.  The ships went to Subuc Bay where they spent the night.  The ships sailed and arrived at Takao, Formosa, on August 30th, and sailed again on September 1st for Keelung, Formosa, arriving the same day.  The ships sailed and arrived at Moji, Japan, on September 4th. 
    The POWs were formed into detachments and marched to the train station.  In Campbell's case, his detachment was taken by train to northern Honshu and Hanawa POW Camp.  The POWs in the camp worked in the
Osarizawa Copper Mine that was owned by Mitsubishi Mining Company. 
    Each morning, the POWs would eat and walk to the mine.  During the winter it meant they marched through deep snow.  They would march up the side of a mountain and down into the mine.  The POWs noticed that the guards never marched up the mountain, but somehow they were waiting for them in the mine when they got to the bottom.  The POWs learned that the Japanese had cut a tunnel into the mine so they did not have to climb up the side of the mountain.
    Campbell remained in the camp until he was liberated on September 12, 1945, when an American officer showed up at the camp's gates.  The POWs knew the war was over because they had been dropped food, medicine, and clothing. 
    A few days later, the POWs returned to the train station and rode the train to Yokohama, where they rode trucks to the docks and were processed
by the Recovered Personnel Team.  They were taken by hospital ship to the Philippines where they received medical treatment and were fatten up.  When Campbell was considered to be healthy, he was boarded onto the U.S.S. Tryon arriving at San Francisco on October 24, 1945, where he was sent to Letterman General Hospital.
    Sadler remained in the military and rose in rank to Sergeant First Class.  He resided in Columbus, Ohio, and after he retired he resided in Muskogee County, Georgia.  Campbell passed away on October 12, 1972, and was buried at Fort Benning Post Cemetery in Muskogee County, Georgia, in Section A, Site 586.


Return to D Company